The last few years have changed the landscape of how digital transformation affected all industries, including healthcare. Technology is now an integral component of healthcare and is poised to cause a vast change in how doctors treat their patients.
Likewise, the overall experience of both patients and healthcare professionals has tremendously improved. Due to the digital transformation in healthcare, technology is proving to be a great help in having people live longer, as well as lead healthier, productive, and safer lives.
The digital transformation of healthcare is estimated to reach USD$210 billion by 2025. Previously, its global market was worth USD$76 billion in 2018. The healthcare industry has seen great changes and will likely continue developing, especially those healthcare providers who have adopted various technologies, equipment, telemedicine, and others.
Many of these progressive technologies were driven in part by expectations from consumers as patients now expect an increased digital interaction when it comes to healthcare. With the help of technology, healthcare providers not only meet patients’ needs but also improve operations and processes in their workplaces by using various apps and electronic communications.
About 78% of patients also prefer to have access to their medical records online, so efforts to digitize medical records have also been included as part of the transformation. Also, there are almost 60% of patients preferring doctors who can communicate with them through online access.
Here are some of the significant digital transformations in the healthcare sector:
Telemedicine refers to the use of technology to allow healthcare professionals to examine, diagnose, provide a prescription, and treat patients virtually. Doctors and their patients use any of the different telecommunication devices like smartphones or tablets through video meeting apps like Zoom.
This innovation is proving to be one of the most useful in recent years, especially during the pandemic. In 2015, there were only 5% of doctors using this innovation. However, it increased to 22% in 2019. A year later, the use of telemedicine surged by 6000%. Now, telemedicine is no longer an option; for many, it’s a necessity. Almost all physicians agree telemedicine is a viable option for medical care.
Moreover, 85% of patients reported a telemedicine consultation resulted in a satisfactory resolution of their issues. Of course, it all depends on the sicknesses and methods used. But what these figures show is there are instances where an actual face-to-face visit to your doctor isn’t always necessary.
Many issues can be resolved via telemedicine, and with waiting in doctor’s offices no longer a factor, patient satisfaction has improved significantly. For the years to come, telemedicine is here to stay.
Perhaps, one of the benefits of digital transformation many in the healthcare industry are thankful for is the ease of storing and accessing data because they can now retrieve all information on a patient anywhere. The internet has also afforded healthcare professionals the luxury of sharing medical information with other practitioners. This has resulted in more efficient and effective patient care.
Thanks to digital transformation, clinicians can collect large amounts of data in a short time. This is especially helpful to those involved in conducting research, clinical trials, or epidemiological studies. The technology made it possible to collect data instantly from a larger and more diverse population.
With access to a vast amount of data, healthcare professionals can easily combine the results of various scientific studies for meta-analysis and help them stay updated on emerging techniques, technologies, and trends. Doctors can also use information from big data in identifying risk factors and prescribing appropriate treatments.
As technology improves, communication between providers and their patients has become much simpler. Healthcare professionals could easily reach out through email, text messages, and smartphones; the same goes for their patients as they’d no longer have to be notified through letters about their tests and appointments.
Not only has technology made communication simpler, but it also became more cost-effective. Moreover, medical professionals can conduct their webinars and use social media platforms and other apps to consult with other professionals even from other countries.
Digital technology also made it possible to have safe and efficient recordkeeping. Formerly, files had to be moved from one department to another, and it was a common occurrence for some of the records to go missing or be damaged during transport. When this happens, the staff would have to spend valuable time finding or reconstructing these accounts.
Patient referrals could also get tedious as doctors would have to locate the patient’s medical records from large filing cabinets or boxes. They’d also have to collect records from different sources like dental, psychiatric, or any other medical specialists’ records.
But with electronic health records (EHR), keeping records is easier and infinitely more organized. With centralized storage, patient data can be accessed quickly by medical professionals, helping them provide better medical care.
As a result of digital transformation, people can pursue education online, including degrees in healthcare. Through the internet, they can study at their preferred time anywhere they want. The option to obtain healthcare-related degrees online made traveling long distances to go to classes unnecessary. And for some, this meant they can continue working while studying.
The proliferation of hundreds of health apps is also one of the effects of the continuing digital transformation of the healthcare industry. Monitoring patients’ health and their medical issues, including quick access to their medical information, helped them to have their check-up and test results promptly.
These healthcare apps also assist professionals to check test results, drug prescriptions, and other vital information.
The digital transformation has improved healthcare immensely. From simple record keeping to monitoring a patient’s vital signs, technological advancements help people to have more comprehensive medical care. For healthcare professionals, the digital transformation makes patient treatment more efficient, effective, and rewarding.
Advancements in technology will continue to be a great boon in healthcare, and it’s up to organizations to adopt these innovations.